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Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Merry Christmas Wishes - Thursday 23rd December 2015

Good Morning Friends!

Remember me?? Well my month or so 'sabbatical' from blogging, has lasted a whole lot longer. I have missed you all and sorry for not stopping by your blogs from time to time, but I did make the decision to make a complete break, which meant staying away completely. In fact except for sending a few birthday messages, I also did the same with Facebook.

I have to say that the time I 'got back' from not blogging or posting on social media (and bearing in mind I have never been a daily blogger or avid FB contributor) was amazing and I have felt a lot more relaxed. I have spent more time out in the countryside helping to preserve habitat for owls, than I have in the craft room and we had a super time decorating our new garden room. The hens love it and are always hanging around the door because they know I will give in to them and give them blueberries.

I didn't make many of my Christmas cards again, so have felt less stressed about that as well...most of the ones I did make were made using a stamp designer I discovered a few months ago online and I will share one of the less 'Christmassy' designs in the New Year.

It's time to share a few photos of the new room, which we love...I'm going to save posting details of my makes and makeovers until the New Year,  but suffice to say fabric stamping and a lot of Annie Sloaning were involved!

Before I finish this short post, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year..thank you to those of you who have stayed in touch and to those with whom I have shared Christmas cards, all your cards are amazing. Cards are such a major part of the Holidays, I love to look at them, they always make me smile and are so cheering.

I will be back in the New Year, I will be cutting down my posting, but I'll be back...

The first group of photos are of the room just after we had finished decorating in October.

These are of the room decorated for Christmas..there are so many twinkling lights it looks like a fairy grotto! Quite a few of them weren't even lit in these photos...

A few weeks ago I made lunch for all my office volunteers..

Merry Christmas all and see you in the New Year,

Love and Hugs
Carole Z X

Monday, 31 August 2015

Taking a break - Monday 31st August

Hello Friends,

Hoping that you are all well...I can't believe it's our last Bank Holiday before Christmas already....and it's raining!

Recently I have posted infrequently - you must be fed up with my apologies for lack of posts and visits to you all! After a lot of thought over the past few weeks, I've decided that I need to take a proper break from blogging, only for the next month, but I need it, in order to come back with renewed enthusiasm and energy.

I have been blogging  for 4 years, but this year for some reason I have found it increasingly difficult. There's no one reason - it has been a busy year outside the craft room indeed and  we have a busy few weeks ahead...they start to build the conservatory this week and in two weeks time we have our holiday - we aren't going away, we will be busy painting, choosing tiles for the floor and pieces of furniture - I have 2 'Annie Sloan'  furniture projects to get on with - and amongst that some day trips to places we love (actually we have some exhibitions of art etc lined up to see).

I have also also found that in the last few weeks, whilst I  decided to put blogging to the back of my mind, my craft time has improved and been more relaxed. It's crazy really, when I was prolifically designing for Sam Poole's Team last year I had no problem in coming up with ideas and meeting deadlines. Over the past month or so, I hadn't lost Mr Mojo, he just knew I had been getting a bit 'anxious' about so many things to get done, so he had decided to shut down for  a while - as soon as I relaxed a little, he bounced back!

This is very hard to say, as I really do love visiting your blogs, seeing all your wonderful work and leaving a comment - as I love it when you visit me, but I think that a break will regenerate my enthusiasm and I will hopefully come back with lots of cards and crafts made, so that I won't be frustrated about 'making' to blog. It's not just been blogging either...I've barely visited Facebook or twitter, except for work.

I've been out with the Owl group a few times now and have really enjoyed getting out in the open and learning so much about Birds of Prey.

Over the next month, I hope to drop by you all from time to time, but I won't be here again until here is my last card for the time being...

Exam Congrats!

Today I am sharing a card I made for a cousin of Tom's (well his dad and Tom are first cousins, you know what I mean) who has got into Oxford University to study law....whoopee! Everyone is of course so proud of him, they are a lovely, close family and he himself is an amazing young man. His sister also just got straight A's and A*'s in her GCSEs!

The card is 7x7: I used a base layer of black card and added a layer of script/map card, the edges of which I inked slightly with Vintage Photo distress ink.

I then die cut the arrows using Tim Holz 'Artful Arrows' for Sizzix, penning 'Oxford' on one of them.  I stamped the Bird Crazy, (which looks like a wise owl to me) and used the die cuts to make it 3D. I coloured it with promarkers. I made the mortar board myself, just drew it and cut out and then added an 'A Level' certificate.

That's it for now, take care all and I look forward to connecting with you again in October,

Love and Hugs,
Carole Z X

Monday, 10 August 2015

Hi Friends!

I hope you all had a great weekend and the sun shone where you are, as it did here! I had every intention to hop on my computer and write a post on Saturday, but it was so lovely outside, that by the time we got back from our shopping 'must do's' Saturday lunchtime, we just went outside and got stuck into some gardening....I have been trying to sketch a revamp of a rather untidy little corner where we have a tiny pond.

To be honest, I agreed with Tom's thinking that the whole thing should be drained and gotten rid of, the plastic is now exposed and it looks bad -  just one problem - it's a really thriving wildlife area and the little pond is home to a heck of a lot of frogs and other little creatures, so at the moment at least Tom's preference wasn't an option really.

I made these sketches for ideas to at least pretty it up and encourage even more butterflies and insects and set to work on it....the hens of course were not a great help! Tilda especially!

 My general idea is to get plants growing around the rim to hide it as much as possible and to plant honeysuckle and other climbers at the back against a trellis to hide the fence - we'll see what it looks like in the least then we can collect the frog spawn, replace the pond and put it all back.

After I'd removed all the pots and plants already there
I didn't know Tom had taken this of me hard at work!

Tilda having a break from annoying toads

After I'd planted some herbs and other plants: the trellis goes up next week..Tilda is still looking for the toad!

At one point I turned my back, she suddenly squealed and just managed to take off across the water instead of landing in it (thank goodness - a green weed coloured chicken would not have been a pretty sight!) and ran around the garden clucking. Cara was in the nest box laying her egg and I have noticed has learnt to stay put when Tilda gets agitated about something.

The problem? She had stuck her beak into one of the pots that we leave there as frog and toad 'hotels' and had met a rather large toad holed up in the dark! Once she had calmed down and felt brave, she went straight back and kept tapping on the pot with her beak, so I was telling her off all afternoon. On a more serious note, I think she did actually eat a couple of very tiny frogs.

Yesterday we treated a family member to a trip to Highgrove gardens; the third time for Tom and I, but a first for Sandra and the rest of Tom's family. There were 6 of us, we had lunch after and the weather was perfect. No photos I'm afraid, security there does not permit cameras or phones in the grounds.

CAS cards

We had a super craft evening last week: some of the ladies had asked for CAS cards. I made the four projects below, with the hope that they would finish 3 of them...well I'm thrilled to say, two of the ladies finished all 4, two finished 3 and one finished almost 3, so not bad going. I deliberately made them as CAS as possible and they said they really enjoyed it. I was pleased, I really love CAS! I didn't get any photos, will try to remember this week...

I made a lot of CAS cards as demos, a lot of them using these two sets of stamps from Woodware and will show them over the next few weeks.

That's all for today, thank you so much for taking the time to stop by,

Love and Hugs
Carole X

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Bird Crazy Birthday - Saturday 1st August 2015

Hello Friends,

Thanks for visiting and thank you for your comments on my Birds of Prey mini album: a few of you were impressed I had made an album of photos from a recent event so quickly...well believe me, I have a full size scrapbook for our last holiday in California, with just a few complete pages! Our last trip to Italy is still on the computer! I do prefer to be able to pick up photos and look at them whenever I want, so this year I decided I would make mini albums of events and holidays - they can be quick to complete and are easy to revisit and add more.

 I hadn't intended that more than a week should pass between posts, but it has! I have got a lot of crafting achieved this week extra time in the office, no more craft time. I also won some sentiment stamps from Sue Wilson's blog, which was brilliant!

The first of our August workshops is this week and some of the group asked if they could have a CAS card session....I look around some of my crafty friend's blogs who specialise in CAS and I am always in awe. I really admire CAS, I find it hard to get started...and then  to stop adding to the card...but I love it and once I get started, I can't stop! That is what I have been doing in my craft time this week.

However for today I want to share cards I've made for hubby Tom's birthday tomorrow...he loves birthdays (much more than I do), so the family will be over for a birthday tea and hopefully it will be nice enough to sit outside (a big hope I think!). 

Now, I did say cards, because of course 'the girls' (our hens) have to give him one too (call us crazy, it's just a bit of fun) I made a quick one from them as well....

First of all here is mine: the 'awesome' is a bit of an in-joke with Tom about the US comedy Modern Family and the character Phil Dunphy, as it's one of his 'phrases'  that Tom adopted..but if you haven't seen it, ignore this as it will mean nothing to you!

I made this card before I got the Bird Crazy matching dies, so I layered them up by fussy cutting. I coloured them using my Chameleon pens and created the background with a wash of salted ocean distress ink and then used some ink and water and spritzed with an old travel toothbrush.

 I stamped the bird inside and added a party hat from another stamp set.

Now for the card 'from' Cara and Tilda...

For this one I stamped a Penny Black image and coloured with Promarkers. I then cut around the edge at the top and folded it at the base to make a simple stand up card. I die cut the greeting.

I also made some wrapping paper for their little present: I just used parcel wrap and stamped the chicken all over it. The stamp is from a small company called Noolibird, they are designed and handmade in Sussex by textile designer and artist Nula Shearing and are fabulous quality wooden block stamps, I love her designs.

At the moment we have our youngest hen, Tilda, just coming up to a year old who seems to be trying to decide whether or not she is broody..very odd...we've had a broody hen before, but not one that is showing all the traits but not quite doing it..that's fine with me, I don't want a broody hen to deal with at the moment! Cara, our older gal is in disgrace. We were eating a sandwich in the garden today, when she ran at me (quite comical really) leapt on my lap and made off with it! I managed to get most of it off her as I didn't want her to eat the bread and cheese (the lettuce and tomato I left for her)..naughty girl!!!

Well I must be off now and get the house ready for tomorrow's guests...have a good weekend all!

Love and Hugs,
Carole Z XX

Friday, 24 July 2015

Mini Album - Friday 24th July 2015

Hello Friends,

I hope you have all been having a good week...Friday is here and the weekend beckons, yay!!!

Today, (I'm afraid) there's still no escaping from owls or a photo heavy post! I decided to make a mini album of my photos from our recent few days away, when we visited one of my favourite places, The Cotswold Falconry Centre.

This month's challenge from Eileen Hull over at Art with Heart is to create something with a 3D you know one of my favourite ways with craft is 3D, pop up cards, decor objects...but I couldn't really use my window box for this as I made one last month...however, I think this little book counts as 3D and has some touchy-feely textures that stand out from the book...

I made the book using Eileen's mini album die for Sizzix (love this die, the best for mini albums!) and embossed the cover with a leafy embossing folder. I then rubbed copper relief paste into the embossing to bring out the texture and give it shine.

The owl (Sam Poole design) was stamped on to a fabric-paper with a furry texture - yes I know owls have feathers, but the point is it is very tactile, feels soft to the touch. I adhered the owl to the cover with 3D pads to raise him and then stamped him again on paper and added the eyes and beak with foam pads.

I drew the branch freehand and die cut the leaves, the letters are a Tim Holz alterations die for Sizzix.

For the first page inside I wanted to add the close up photo of the little owl I got to fly  at the reserve (such a cutie!).

To create the texture of the tree trunk, I die cut a hole in the centre of the card and then smoothed embossing paste over the card, leaving raised areas quite randomly. 
Once dry I painted over it with brown paint and added the photo.

I made the book into a journal of the day, plus a few photos at the end from a favourite falconry lesson some years ago and the Sparrowhawk garden visitor, adding die cut and stamped flowers and leaves to the are all the pages

Thank you so much for stopping by again, promise this is my last photo-heavy post for a while, have a great weekend all!

Art with Heart Challenge -Make it 3D: July 2015

Love and Hugs
Carole X